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9/11 Remembrance

Friday, September 09, 2011

Last night, the college I work for held a candlelight vigil of remembrance for those lost on 9/11. As Chair of the Staff Council, I was ask to be one of the speakers. When they asked me, they did not know my personal experience with the tragedy.

I get so angry when people show hatred. If you hate Muslims (or anyone who is 'different' from you for that matter) because of what happened, then you are no better than those fools who perpetrated this action. They hate, you hate - where does that get us? Death and destruction on all sides, and those of us on all sides who are living our peaceful lives are forgotten and are seen as collateral damage. Those who use fear to further their religious or political agenda and disgusting creatures who should be avoided at all costs.

Anyway, here is my speach from last night.

On September 11, 2001, I should have been at work, but on September 10th, I walked in to my office at Cantor-Fitzgerald, on the 101st floor of Tower One in the World Trade Center carrying my new born baby girl, Jasmeen, as a “prop”. My intention was to use her to beg another week of maternity leave from my boss and CFO Jeffrey Goldflam. Jeff held my baby, made cute little baby noises at her and held my 2-1/2 year old son in him lap.

Mission accomplished, I took the opportunity to walk around all five floors of our offices and show off my baby girl with a mother’s pride. It was nice speaking to everyone and being able to see them in a non-professional way.

8:30 the next morning, I received an e-mail from one of my best friends, Michele Nelson, Cantor’s Benefits Specialist, saying that it was wonderful to see me and the baby and was looking forward to me coming back to work the next week. I read the e-mail, smiled, wrote back and headed to my girlfriend’s house for morning coffee.

About an hour later, I received a frantic call from my mother on my cell phone. She was sobbing and crying – I could barely understand her. Finally recognizing my confusion, she asked “You’re not at work are you?” I said no, and proudly told her how I had used my own child to wrangle out the extra week of maternity. I expected her to laugh, but all I heard was silence. Finally, as if gasping for air, she told me to turn on the TV.

My girlfriend and I stared at the screen. We could not believe what we were seeing. I tried calling my staff, I had three people reporting to me in New York and I couldn’t reach anyone. I went in to a complete panic and rushed home, in case anyone was trying to call my home number. At that time, I never imagined that the buildings were going to collapse and the majority of my closest and dearest friends were going to be lost. You see, I knew the story about the plane hitting the Empire State Building and at that time, I thought it was that. As I walked past the Laundromat on the corner of my street, I saw the crowd gathered around the television set mounted on the wall. I recognized our regular Fed Ex delivery guy from Cantor. He had taken the day off. I saw this man almost every day and while I recognized his face, we had never spoken – I never even knew his name and it turned out he only lived a block or so away from me.

When the buildings collapsed, I was stunned. I cried a little at first, and then I became obsessed with watching the news shows. I was scanning all the footage to see if I could recognize any of the jumpers – I mean, how morbid is that? What’s worse is – I did. After days of that, my husband went out and bought about 20 DVDs and disconnected the cable. That helped a lot.

Did I mention that my girlfriend was from Bangladesh? No, well, it really shouldn’t matter should it? But after 9/11, while many grew closer, others chose to vent their fear and anger out on those who had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks. My girlfriend became afraid to leave her house, even to walk her son to school because roving gangs of thugs were attacking women who wore the veil. My husband was Muslim. He lost a cousin in Tower 2. We went on the subway to show our respect to the family. I wore the veil, even though I was not Muslim, but just to show respect. A woman, emblazoned with American Flag pins, came up to me and punched me in the face.

But I won’t hate.

In tribute to her daughter, my friend Michele’s mother wrote that Michele was “blind to color, creed, ethnicity and class.” For me to hate would be disrespectful and not show honor to my friend’s memory. You see, fear and hate do not make you safe. You have to make peace with your own inner terrors. Once you do that, fearlessness and compassion will resonate from within you. I am not saying we should not be vigilant, what I am saying to you is that you cannot dwell in the realm of insecurity.

The students gathered here were children when these events occurred. No matter what country you are from, you have been raised in the post 9/11 world regardless of how much terror and suffering many have already seen in your home countries. That can be used to make you isolate yourselves – or we can take the opportunity we have here at Manhattanville and everywhere else others are gathered in remembrance and embrace our cultural differences and enrich this world with love, hope, and peace. Nothing will change, unless we change it ourselves. We can’t sit and wait for others to do for us. We owe it to Michele, to Jeff and to all the others who were lost, our friends, our families and to those who have not yet been born.

Deliberate, fearless compassion. This is how I live my life and if you are committed to that as well, raise your candle high in remembrance.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HWNHMMBRD 9/11/2011 5:45PM

    We have a saying here in Hawaii, "It gave me Chicken Skin". Your story did just that. It was so moving and haunting I broke out in goosebumps, or as we call it, "Chicken Skin". Thank you so much for sharing. Bless you on this day, and bless you for reminding us that hate is not productive and just makes us small minded. emoticon emoticon

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MJ7DM33 9/9/2011 5:24PM

  Thanks for sharing your story with all of us!!! It should make us appreciative of every day that the good Lord Jesus gives us all!!!

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SHEFFIELD09 9/9/2011 1:22PM

    Wow. I appreciate hearing your story and am glad you were safe! 9/11 a day no one will forget.

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In honor of Lizzie Kate

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I was recently responding to another new member's first blog post when I had a revalation. The key to my success here is not just drinking my water, tracking what I eat and racking up spark points. Rather it is my participation in the community as a whole. Oh, I am committed to succeed this time, but I am discovering that my greatest satisfaction comes from encouraging others.

When I was growing up, my mother was a stay at home mom. No, that is not quite correct. She did not have a "job" like other working mothers but she was not a stay at home type of woman. She worked endlessly helping others, especially young people. She had a saying - "Lifting as we climb". In other words, as we strive to achieve our goals, we must not forget to help others along the way.

It's been a year since she has passed, but I shall never forget the lessons she has taught me and I hope that I continue to honor her by instilling these same lessons into my own children.

To a wonderful woman - Lizzie Kate from her loving daughter.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLELA 7/28/2011 1:39AM

    Beautiful picture and words. My emoticon warms when someone remembers the person who raised, inspired or taught them. It could be a grandparent, foster, adopted or biological parent or extended family member.

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GODSCHILD2_2011 6/5/2011 8:54AM

    It blesses my heart how you are honoring your mother. You have a beautiful spirit and I know your mother was so proud of you. Keep spreading that SPARK!! Much success on your journey.


Comment edited on: 6/5/2011 8:56:38 AM

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Woo! My first blog post

Friday, May 27, 2011

I am one of those people that feels if you want something to work, you have to be 150% committed to it. So, I feel that I should take advantage of all the tools this wonderful site has to offer, including creating and maintaining a blog.

So, here I am.

I am looking forward to the 3 day weekend. My neighbors and I are getting together for a Memorial Day barbeque. We live in an apartment building and share a common deck so we thought this would be the perfect time to use it. Now, being vegan like I am, I am bringing and cooking the veggies and side dishes. The big thing that everyone is looking forward to are my grilled bruchetta veggie burgers and my corn on the cob with jalapeno margarine. Yum, yum, yum!

I love cooking so I have been using this latest weight loss effort as an excuse to try new recipes. I headed out to the farmer's market and picked up some fiddleheads. I haven't decided what I am going to do with them but I just wanted to see what all the hype was about. Well, one thing for sure is that they sure are interesting looking.

There is a great blog that introduces you to them which you can check out here: veganyumyum.com/2007/05/fiddlehead-f

The post is from the Spring of 2007, but it's a great post and nothing beats the classics.

Take care!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYBABYBEARS 5/27/2011 9:35PM

    Welcome to SP! Enjoy the ride! Set small goals!

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LIV2RIDE 5/27/2011 6:54PM

    Welcome to Sparkpeople and to the Living A Vegan Lifestyle team. I love BBQ's!! I bought some portabellas for the grill this weekend along with some purple asparagus. YUMMO!! Sparkpeople is a great resource for changing your lifestyle for good. There are so many people here that have a lot of great ideas. Welcome! I look forward to getting to know you better.


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SPARKBECKY2012 5/27/2011 12:15PM

    emoticon emoticon

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RAGIONERE 5/27/2011 11:25AM

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CATS_MEOW_0911 5/27/2011 11:24AM

    Welcome to Sparkpeople, I wish you the best on your journey!

Hmmm, I don't think I've ever heard of fiddleheads, I will have to check them out--I love trying new fruits and veggies!

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